Student Earns $50k A Year Jailbreaking iPhones

Since jailbreaking phones was deemed a legal undertaking thanks to exemptions added to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) last year, full-time jobs have grown from the activity. A senior at George Mason University, Kevin Lee, earns about $50,000 a year unlocking iPhones for folks less adept with technology.

Lee started off unlocking iPhones for himself and friends with about 5 to 10 customers per week. That eventually led to a solid 30 to 40 customers weekly. He advertises on Craigslist and says he jailbreaks iPhones so that customers can enable custom designs and switch wireless carriers.

"I just had one customer from the Mongolian embassy who was moving to the capital of Mongolia, and he wanted to use the iPhone there," says Lee.

But jailbreaking has gone beyond the tinkering by individuals, to a whole marketplace of its own. Cydia, the "unofficial iPhone app store" launched back in 2008 is a black market of iPhone apps with roughly 30,000 free apps and about 700 paid designs and mods. Cydia founder Jay Freeman says the company now earns about $250,000 in profit after taxes annually.

This could be a lucrative side project, if you plan on holding down your day job just in case Apple manages a Sony type of crackdown and finagle the courts to remove the DMCA exemptions.

[via Washington Post]